10 Things Every Woman Should Know About Hair Texture

Best products, best haircuts & a few rule breakers

woman with frizzy hair
woman with frizzy hair. Graeme Montgomery / Getty Images

Nothing is more important than hair texture when it comes to choosing your best hairstyle, not even your face shape. Your hair's density and texture dictate your hairstyle, your hair length, and how your stylist cuts your hair.

But just as there are rules to the perfect haircut, there are always rule breakers. Some of the very best hairstyles can be seen on rule breakers. Here are 10 rules about hair texture every woman should know and a few ways to break them.

6 Types of Hair Texture

There are six basic types of hair texture: fine, straight, wavy, coarse, frizzy and curly. You can also be a combination of these. I, for example, have naturally fine, straight hair. You may have curly hair that tends to frizz or wavy hair that's also coarse.

Your hairstylist should be able to suss out your hair's situation by touching it and seeing how it moves, but it is always good to know your hair type and texture when it comes to picking a haircut and styling your hair.

To figure out your hair's texture, grab sections of it on the top, sides and back and watch how it falls when you let go. If your hair falls flat and limp, you have fine hair. If your hair sticks up straight or if it poufs up and away from your scalp and face, you have thick textured hair. Anything in between is medium texture. Naturally, blonde hair tends to be thinner in texture, while dark hair tends to be thicker.

Curly Hair Tends to Look Best Long

Beauty experts, myself included, will tell you that curly hair needs length to weigh it down, otherwise it will pouf up. This is true. Usually the longer you can grow your curly hair, the better.

You can, however, break the rules when it comes to curly hair. I personally love curly hair that pops all over the place.


Don't Grow Your Fine Hair Too Long

Just as curly hair needs length to weigh it down, fine hair needs to be shorter to retain body. Long, fine hair can appear flat and lifeless.

That said, women with certain face shapes look amazing in long hair, no matter their hair texture. Round face shapes and square faces look great with longer hair, which elongates a face that tends to be as wide as it is long. If you have fine hair and a long face, you are better off with shorter hair, but this doesn't mean you are relegated to bobs the rest of your life. To the shoulders is fine. 

Layers Work on All Hair Textures

Layers build in movement, soften your hair's lines, create body and can keep your curly hair from looking like a Christmas tree. The good news is they work on all hair textures.

Bangs are Best for Straight, Coarse, and Fine Hair

Everyone's big on bangs these days and if you have curly and/or frizzy hair you might be feeling a bit left out because it's an age-old beauty rule that bangs work best on straight hair, coarse hair and fine hair but never curly hair. The beauty rule is that unless you're willing to chemically or manually straighten your hair and bangs each day, you're better off not getting bangs.

You can break this rule if you go for long, side-swept bangs. The shortest layer should hit at your ear and make sure your stylist cuts those bangs when they're dry. Hair shrivels up when it dries and you don't want short curls boing-ing out from your forehead.

Most Women's Hair Has at Least Some Wave to It

If you have straight hair and let it air dry, scrunching as it dries, you'll find your hair can actually appear naturally wavy. The fact is most hair has some natural wave to it, even women with incredibly fine hair. It might not look great wavy, but it's good to know you can get a wave out of it.

The Right Hair Products for Your Hair Texture

Women with fine or straight hair need different products than women with coarse, curly or frizzy hair.

Best products for fine hair women include volumizers, mild shampoos that won't weigh hair down, dry shampoos (or baby powder), hairspray and homemade vinegar rinses that help remove product build-up.

Women with dry hair should consider moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, smoothing hair treatments and serums.

How to Create Body

The secret to creating body in straight hair, flat hair and wavy hair is hair product and a proper blow dry. You need the right haircut of course (layers are key!), but if you add a volumizing spray or sea salt spray, you can create body.

Wash Fine Hair Daily if You Want, Wash Coarse Hair Weekly if You Want

You may have heard that you should never wash your hair every day. Feel free to break that rule if you need to. Fine hair usually means oily hair and coarse hair usually means dry hair. You should shampoo your hair as often as you need to, even if it's every day.

For oily hair, try dry shampoo or baby powder at the roots to soak up extra oils on the days when you skip a shampoo.

If you have frizzy hair, your secret to softer hair is in the conditioning. You should condition after every shampoo and do hot oil treatments weekly. Some women with curly or frizzy hair never shampoo. This is known as the "no-poo" movement. They condition instead. 

The Right Tools For Your Hair Texture

Different hair textures require different hair tools. For example, women with straight, wavy and coarse hair can invest in a great round boar's hair brush as well as a paddle brush for blowouts. It's also worth the investment on a good ionic blowdryer. The time it takes to dry hair is cut down with a good dryer and your hair won't frizz or fry.

Curly hair is trickier because it has a tendency to frizz when over-handled. Some women don't use hairbrushes or blow dryers on their curly hair, opting instead to let their hair air dry. Others dry their hair from below on a low setting and using a diffuser.

Make Your Life Better, Embrace Your Hair Texture

If there's one thing I've learned about beauty it's that we are harder on ourselves than anyone else might be. For years, I described myself in this way to my hairstylist, "I have a big forehead, so I prefer bangs. I have a long face so I shouldn't wear my hair long and I have fine, flat hair so I need to retain body."

Notice the negativity in that statement: "big forehead," "long face," and "flat hair." The truth is my face isn't very long at all. Sometimes it seems kind of square. Other times it could be considered oval. And my hair is actually thick and yes, fine. But it's thick! Whoever complains about having thick hair? As for my forehead, women with short foreheads probably covet my big one just as I'm coveting theirs. When I make jokes about my "IMAX forehead" people just sort of blink at me.

When we feel stuck with what we are born with, we may feel eager for change. But our lives will be much easier if we embrace our hair texture. This means fewer hours with a curling iron if we have straight or fine hair and fewer hours with a flat iron if we have curly or wavy hair that we want to lie flat. Take down that ponytail and show off that hair. Instead of hating on your hair when you look at it in the mirror, call out things you like about your: its thickness, its length, its shine.

Soon, you may find your attitude about your hair, and yourself has changed.

Keep breaking rules.